SNP stoops to new low accusing bullied MP who defected to Tories of tantrum

SNP President Mike Russell has been taken to task for his “high-handed” attempts to denigrate Lisa Cameron after her decision to quit the party and join the Tories.

Craig Hoy, chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, hit back after Mr Russell accused Dr Cameron, a former NHS clinical psychologist, of a “tantrum” and dismissed her claims of bullying as “unsubstantiated”.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, he said: “Lisa’s decision is her decision, but I regard it as absolutely bizarre and I think it does call into question all sort of things.”

He urged the SNP to focus of issues which matter to Scotland “not what seems to be a rather odd tantrum from somebody who was going to lose their seat and lose their nomination”.

He added: “I think Lisa’s claims are unsubstantiated and what we need to focus on is reality.

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“I have the greatest sympathy for anybody in those circumstances, but their claim for how they arose, when they make that claim publicly, has to be regrettably examined.”

Mr Hoy told the BBC Mr Russell in particular was “dismissing the concerns raised by Lisa Cameron in the most high-handed of ways.”

He continued: “She is a brave and committed constituency MP and I think she’s been right in saying we need to show more empathy in politics and focus on less division.”

There was no need for a by-election, reasoning that “other parties have welcomed new MPs without one”.

Mr Hoy added: “The party that loses an MP in an defection always demands a by-election, but it’s not always necessary part of our constitution.

“She will continue to represent her constituents in the same way she has done in the last four years.”

The decision has enraged others many in the party, not least First Minister Humza Yusuf, who responded to her announcement by accusing her of “betraying her constituents” and calling for her to resign as a member of the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Humza has also described her decision as the “least surprising news” he had heard since taking over from Nicola Sturgeon earlier this year, and claimed Dr Cameron “probably never believed” in Scottish independence.

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Explaining her decision to the Scottish Daily Mail yesterday, Dr Cameron said: “I do not feel able to continue in what I have experienced as a toxic and bullying SNP Westminster group, which resulted in my requiring counselling for a period of 12 months in Parliament and caused significant deterioration in my health and wellbeing as assessed by my GP, including the need for antidepressants.

“I will never regret my actions in standing up for a victim of abuse at the hands of an SNP MP last year, but I have no faith remaining in a party whose leadership supported the perpetrator’s interests over that of the victim’s and who have shown little to no interest in acknowledging or addressing the impact.”

She added: “It is also true that I have received no contact from party leadership in the past weeks, despite members of every other main political party contacting me to offer support and compassion during what has been an extremely difficult time.”

She praised UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s “positive” leadership, saying it contrasted to that of the SNP group.

Mr Sunak responded by saying: “Mr Sunak reacted to her decision saying: “I am delighted that Lisa Cameron has decided to join the Conservatives.

“She is a brave and committed constituency MP.

“Lisa is right that we should aim to do politics better, with more empathy and less division and a dedication to always be doing what we think is right.”

“I look forward to working with her on the disability issues she has championed so passionately in Parliament, and on the issues that really matter to her constituents in East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow.

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